Friday, December 7, 2007

The Heirloom

Sometimes special gifts are so difficult to find, and other times they fall into our laps at just the right moment. My daughter has cherished a silver cross that my mother gave her for her confirmation twelve years ago. My mother was far from wealthy, and she was so excited when she found this cross on sale. Even though Jen was only eleven years old at the time, she remembers how happy her grandmother was to be able to give her this gift.

Jen has worn the cross every day for twelve years, and it has become very fragile, so she cannot wear it any more. Recently while sorting though a dresser, I found another tiny cross, which was given to Jen by her other grandmother when she was christened. In the same box was a tiny gold ring which my grandmother had given me when I was young, and I had passed on to Jen. Today while Christmas shopping I found an exquisite small jewel box of etched glass which would make a perfect home for all three pieces of jewelry. Tonight I cut a piece of black velvet to line the bottom and placed the precious items on the velvet.

For the next hour I sorted through old family photos to find a tiny picture of Jen's grandmothers and her great-grandmother. This is always a pleasure -- gazing into the eyes of loved ones and ancestors is a heartwarming experience. Many of these people are long dead, and yet they are captured forever with their hopeful smiles and youthful faces. Finally I found pictures of all three women -- each one taken when they were in their early twenties -- the same age as Jen is now.

Overnight I will think a bit about how to combine the jewelry and the tiny photos into a pleasing design that will complement the beauty of the etched glass -- sometimes our most wonderful ideas come as we sleep.

And, soon I will present this special gift to my daughter. It will be a reminder to her of the love passed down from mothers and grandmothers, and I will pray that someday she will have a precious daughter of her own to cherish this tiny new heirloom.

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